An A-B etchant is applied to a (100) surface of a body of semiconductor material, a portion of which along the (100) surface of the body is either gallium arsenide or gallium aluminum arsenide. The etchant is applied for at least 15 seconds at a temperature of approximately 80.degree. C. The A-B etchant is a solution by weight percent of 47.5%, water, 0.2% silver nitrate, 23.8% chromium trioxide and 28.5% of a 48% aqueous solution of hydrofluoric acid. As a result of the application of the A-B etchant a pattern of elongated etch pits form having their longitudinal axes along the  crystalline direction. Grooves are formed in the body at a surface opposite the (100) surface on which was applied the etchant. The grooves are formed along the  crystalline direction by aligning the longitudinal axes of the grooves with the longitudinal axes of the etch pits.